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Reactor (Chicago, IL); issue no.3 November 1992
Drop Bass Network Takes the Heat
Milwaukee's "notorious" promoters interviewed
by David Prince & Kevin Martin
(page 22)

Patrick Spencer, Kurt Eckes
The Halloween Grave Rave bust in Milwaukee is a telling, real life scenario of what may one day happen in Chicago. We in Chicago and the entire raving world, however, have a great deal to learn from what happened to the Milwaukee scene before, during and after the largest bust in that city's history. Ravers first and promoters second, Kurt Eckes and Patrick Spencer were arrested along with everyone else at Grave. They talked to us about those events and what lies ahead.

Reactor: Was what happened at grave inevitable?

Pat: Regardless of whether it was inevitable I thought it came too soon. I think the police were less in the know of what was going on than they let on at first. They knew but they didn't really care. What was really strange was to see them come down that hard, I mean three cops could have gone in there, turned on the house lights and stood there with their guns still in their belts and said 'You kids, get the fuck out of here, we're shutting you down' and people would have left. I think they really wanted Raves stopped and they really wanted to scare people.

Kurt: When I was talking to the detective, in his file he had the Time and Newsweek articles, that's where they were getting their ideas from. They thought these were some major Ecstasy/ drug parties and their heads were filled with ideas like that.

Pat: Part of it is, the police don't know what's going on. Any other club they can go inside and walk around and know what time it closes and now, all of a sudden, this is something that they don't know about and they don't know what's going on inside. And we use things like voice mail which makes it all underground and keeps them out and they think only drug dealers use those.

Reactor: Do you think secrecy is a big draw to it?

Pat: I think it is, because the people that are into this are people that aren't afraid of spontaneity and newness, in fact, they want that. It's so stale what happens at other things. They are sick and tired of just going to places where some speakers are set up and people are dancing, they want to go somewhere new and explore the space.

Kurt: When the cops were asking me about the future they wanted to know, 'does it have to be so secret and underground, can't people know the location?' and I told them no, this is part of what it's all about and they didn't really understand that.

Pat: It's cool to see such a large scale operation and something people aren't supposed to know about going on as people are just driving by. You are a select person then who has gotten this and you know how to obtain it and they never will.

Kurt: When we did "Humanity" we didn't have any pre-tickets. It was just at 10:30, which was like 30 minutes before the event started, you got to the map point and when we pulled into the lot and there was just this mass of kids looking around knowing that somewhere around here soon, they'd be able to get tickets and it was the same at "Flavor Rave," they were lined up all the way down the block.

Reactor: What lessons have you learned and what lessons do you think Milwaukee ravers have learned from this?

Pat: I realize that it has all been tainted now because everyone knows about it. Now some old guy sitting in his arm chair, reading the newspaper know what a Rave is.

Kurt: People know the word and it's like the 90210 episode with the egg. Parents know about this stuff now and it's in their mind that this happens in their city.

Pat: The word "Rave" has become so overused and people say 'Oh ya, that's where those kids go, do drugs and dance like fools' and that's a big drawback because a lot of kids were banking on that secrecy.

Kurt: they would lie to their parents and say they were going to a friend's house. Now their parents know that their kid is possibly going to one of those rave parties. Plus its all about being a part of something.

Pat: Three weeks ago people were like 'Here I am part of something huge and yet nobody knows about it except me and my friends.'

Reactor: Is all that ruined?

Kurt: No, not ruined but the underground aspect is gone.

Reactor: Everyone is going to be watching your next move as promoters and ravers and as a city. What's next?

Kurt: We're going to keep it going, I mean all our voice mail stuff is great and people want to organize, not a protest but a display like "look you gave us all these fines but we are not going to give up, our hearts are in this, our spirits are in this, we still want to rave." These people are so honest and loyal to the scene and there is no way you could treat them bad or let them down. After they looked at what had happened and how nice people were to the authorities, the higher up ones, recognized and appreciated that what we were doing is good because there is nothing else to do in Milwaukee.

Reactor: Will the police be invited to your next party?

Kurt: I think they might be feeling really dumb for what they did.

Pat: I think they were looking for a reaction from us and when they realized that we planned on keeping these up, they had to accept that.

Kurt: I told them that we had worked to hard at creating a scene, a positive one, out of nothing for this to end. They thought this was some sort of big beer party and laughed at the idea of a party without alcohol. The truth is there is no alcohol and it's all real positive. My first reactions were 'fuck this' we'll just go real hard core underground and they'll never find us, but then I realized that that was impossible it's gotten too big. There are so many people into this. We know this ultimate punk rocker and he took acid and now he loves techno, we had an invite only party and he HAD to be there, him and all his friends danced all night and I'd never seen that, he used to do nothing but slam dance.

Reactor: How has this or will this affect the Milwaukee scene?

Pat: It will make the scene a lot stronger.

Kurt: It already has. I mean I wouldn't remember a single voice mail number from Chicago, but we haven't had our number on anything for almost a month now and we still get tons of calls. Everything from "I've got girls, tell me where it's at. I'll bring them all!" to every Saturday people call for a map point on our voice mail.


they might stop the party -- but they can't stop the future


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